Fatigue of superelastic Nitinol in the mixed austenite–martensite state was examined in tension using center-tapered dog-bone specimens. A prestraining procedure, mimicking the load history of a medical device component, was applied prior to cycling: specimens were loaded to a fully martensitic state, unloaded partway into the lower plateau to a mixed-phase state, and then subjected to sinusoidal displacement cycles. Strain maps, obtained using digital image correlation, showed substantial variation in local mean and alternating strains across the gage section. In situ surface imaging using a high-speed camera confirmed crack initiation in a narrow transition zone between austenite and martensite that undergoes cyclic stress-induced martensitic transformation (SIMT). Fatigue life data showed an abrupt transition from high-cycle runouts to low-cycle fatigue failures at a stress amplitude level corresponding to the threshold for activating cyclic SIMT. The fatigue threshold can be estimated from the tensile loading–unloading curve.
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We thank Herwig Mayer and Michael Fitzka at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, Austria, for providing the fatigue specimen design for use in this study. We thank James Hallquist for conducting several of the fatigue life tests. We also thank Mallika Kamarajugadda, Richard Francis, Markus Reiterer, Curtis Goreham-Voss, Scott Terry, and Shivram Sridhar at Medtronic plc for their many helpful discussions and comments that significantly improved this manuscript. Sharvan Kumar and Zhiwei Ma acknowledge Medtronic for the research grant to Brown University that enabled this collaborative work.
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Catoor, D., Ma, Z. & Kumar, S. Cyclic response and fatigue failure of Nitinol under tension–tension loading. Journal of Materials Research 34, 3504–3522 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1557/jmr.2019.254